Monday, 24 May 2010

Mark Twight answers your questions (part1)

With the upcoming Gym Jones FDI Certification, we have received numerous phone calls and emails. Most of you asked the same questions therefore we thought that you should hear the answers from the MAN HIMSELF. During the next few days I will be posting a record of my interview with Mark including tips of how to prepare for the UK Certification and what is expected from Gym Jones Affiliate.

Today Part 1.

SABINA: Mark, from my experience with Gym Jones I know is that it is a very unique place. The atmosphere of your facility is very hard to recreate anywhere else. Your athletes seem to have no need to be motivated, training at Gym Jones is a motivation itself. What is the secret?

MARK TWIGHT: We often say (and sometimes shout), “you become what you do.” What you do and the way you do it is largely dependent on environmental influence so we also state that, “you become who you hang around.” If there is any secret to what happens at Gym Jones it depends on the quality and character of those who train here. On any given day I can walk into the gym and have my performance affected by one of the best rock climbers in the world, one of the best cyclists in the country, any number of national and world champion jiu-jitsu players. How could I possibly give less than everything to my own workout? When the people around me are digging deep into their own souls to wring out more energy or a last blast of will power I too am driven to push against my own limitations.

Many who train here depend on fitness to protect them in the sport or work context: climbers, fighters and grapplers, soldiers, paramedics, skiers, etc. They work harder to prepare themselves than someone for whom a lack of fitness carries no consequence. And this hard work and attention rubs off on those around them.

The first point of our training philosophy is that the mind is primary. Most coaches and athletes agree that top performance in any sport is “90% mental.” If this is the case then why do those same people place so much emphasis on physical training? Because physical training is easy, and produces incrementally measurable results, while mental training is hard and its benefits are elusive. On top of this, psychological management of the athlete is the most difficult aspect of coaching. Few have the talent for it. We do and we use it.

Of course it is natural that someone who is physical and depends on the physical for self-actualization or to make a living also emphasizes the “merely” physical in his or her training practice. But when all of the top players have roughly the same physical fitness and skill what separates the winner is psychological.

Few are willing to practice shaping the mind to the point that when let free the mind itself drags the body and the whole toward a distant point shining brightly with mankind's potential. Due to commercial pressures and a reductionist practice that emphasizes only the win/loss record the era of the philosopher coach is waning. If the only outcome of the Gym Jones project is to keep the idea of the philosopher coach alive I will be satisfied. Happily, the project has produced many other good results since its inception in 2004.

In short, the motivation you noticed at Gym Jones is produced deep within the individuals then concentrated in an environment best defined by its extremely high expectations.

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